AK-Sen: Just Look at the Eye Candy

I don’t believe the title needs further explanation.

Can you guess what this map is of?

The map up top is the 2008 race between Mark Begich and Ted Stevens, in which Begich prevailed by 1.25%.

If you guessed that correctly (without cheating), 10 points for Gryffindor. If you did cheat and look at the file name, boo on you too, but you can look at the Anchorage inset anyways:

Here’s a redux of the Murkowski-Miller race (blue for Murk, Red for Miller; Absentees not included):

And you can judge for yourself similarities between that at the 2008 GOP primary, Young-Parnell (Young in blue, Parnell in red):

I’m not that optimistic about Scott McAdams’ chances in November, but there does seem to be a path for him:

Areas of strong Begich performance are decently correlated with areas of strong Murkowski performance – or put differently – weaker Miller performance. Given that, this seems to bode somewhat better for McAdams, in that he could piece together the Begich coalition of Anchorage + Outlying Areas + Juneau for a win, pulling in disaffected Murkowski GOPers. Those areas (notably, GOP voters in those areas) weren’t exactly hopping for Miller.

SSP Daily Digest: 8/10 (Afternoon Edition)

AK-Sen: You might have seen mention at other sites of a Tea Party Express “poll” of the GOP Senate primary in Alaska that had Joe Miller within 9 points of Lisa Murkowski. Mother Jones has been digging around, trying to find the poll, and can find no confirmation of its existence or even word of who took the poll, from either the Miller campaign or TPE.

CO-Sen: Jane Norton’s closing argument wasn’t about how great she was, but rather about her “concerns” with Ken Buck. Her interview with Politico this morning alluded to his “issues with spending and ethics.”

IL-Sen: If all else fails, try tying your opponent to Saddam Hussein. That’s what Mark Kirk’s attempting, with an ad that accuses Broadway Bank of having made a 2006 loan to an Iraqi businessman with some sort of Hussein connections. Alexi Giannoulias pointed out that was after he’d already left the bank, but I think a better argument would be that Saddam Hussein was played in South Park Bigger Longer & Uncut by Matt Stone, who was in Baseketball with Greg Grunberg, who was in Hollow Man with Kevin Bacon.

LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon is out with his very first TV ad, as he and GOP candidate Chet Traylor try to put the squeeze on David Vitter from both directions. The ad (NWOTSOTB for $115K) launches a direct hit on how Vitter “hasn’t been honest.”

PA-Sen: Pat Toomey is out with yet another TV ad, a negative ad against opponent Joe Sestak. Their only word on the size of the buy is “significant.” The Toomey campaign has been on the air with at least five different ads for a month now, without seeming to budge the poll numbers at all. Sestak hasn’t hit the TV airwaves yet, and seems to, as was the case with his successful primary bid, marshalling his resources for a large salvo closer to the election.

KS-Gov: Wow, check out the opponent Sam Brownback dispatched in the GOP gubernatorial primary, if you’re in the mood for serious nutjobbery. Joan Heffington alleges “CIA infiltration of western Kansas” and has faced sanctions for practicing law without a license. At any rate, having garnered 15% in the GOP primary, she’s now saying she’s a GDI (God-driven independent) and shouldn’t have gotten suckered into that whole Republican racket in the first place, and as such is launching a write-in candidacy for November.

MI-Gov: You may remember state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, who pulled the plug on her gubernatorial candidacy on the day of the filing deadline, saying she didn’t want to split the progressive vote (and thus giving a big boost to Lansing mayor and eventual primary winner Virg Bernero). Probably figuring that Bernero owes her big-time and also that he’d like some diversity on the ticket, Smith is now floating her own name for the Lt. Governor slot.

NY-Gov: GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has gone ahead and pulled the trigger on creating his own ballot line, the Taxpayers Party. It still remains a completely open question as to whether he plans to run on it if he loses the GOP primary, though. (He originally said he wouldn’t be a spoiler in the race against Andrew Cuomo, but then changed to an “options open” position.)

IL-10: Dan Seals got apparently re-endorsed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers today. (He also had their backing in the Dem primary against Julie Hamos.)

IL-11: Rep. Debbie Halvorson didn’t start out near the top of anyone’s list of vulnerable Democrats, but she’s starting to earn her position there. Republican opponent Adam Kinzinger has issued a second internal poll (the first one was in March) giving him a lead over Halvorson. The poll from POS gives him a 51-40 edge. (The article, however, helpfully points out that POS saw Halvorson with only a 2-point lead over the hapless Marty Ozinga six weeks before the election in 2008, a race which she went on to win by 24. Update: In 2008, we wrote about that POS poll here.)

IN-02: Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, no stranger to occasional use of conservative framing, goes an extra step in his new TV ad hating on those immigrants, using a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama when saying how he stands apart from “the Washington crowd.” John Boehner’s lurking in the photo’s background, too, so at least it’s bipartisan.

KS-01: Wow, SurveyUSA sure likes polling KS-01, probably one of the likeliest races in the country to stay red. (Or at least KWCH-TV sure likes paying them to poll it.) They find Republican state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, who just won the primary, leading Dem Alan Jilka 65-23. (Jilka is a former mayor of Salina, which may actually make him a pretty big ‘get’ as far as this hopeless district goes.)

NH-02: When is a lobbyist not a lobbyist? It turns out that Katrina Swett, who has denied (gasp) lobbying, in fact filled out the required federal paperwork in 1997 to register as a lobbyist, although now her defense is that she never actually got around to lobbying once she registered. Swett has previously been attacking Dem primary foe Ann McLane Kuster for her own previous lobbying work.

TX-17: Rep. Chet Edwards got a key endorsement in this dark-red, largely rural Texas district: he got the backing of the NRA. It may seem odd to see so many conservaDems getting NRA backing, but the NRA’s policy is where there are two equally pro-gun candidates, the incumbent gets the nod.

WV-01: Alan Mollohan 2.0? The man is actually talking like he’s eyeing a 2012 comeback, having filed FEC paperwork setting up a 2012 candidacy (although it’s unclear whether that was just to have a fundraising receptacle for donors’ funds to repay a personal loan to his committee). He also just issued a long memo to supporters, bashing, well, everyone, ranging from Republican House members who pursued ethics complaints against him while they were in charge, to Mike Oliverio, who he says defeated him in this year’s Dem primary using those discredited charges.

Census: Next time a Republican complains to you about the ineffective, bloated government, point him in the direction of the Census, which just came in $1.6 billion under budget (out of a total $14.7 billion appropriated) as it wraps up its main phase. A solid 72% initial response rate helped save money on the inevitable follow-up process.

Passages: Sadly, today we bid farewell to Ted Stevens, the long-serving Republican Senator from Alaska and chronicler of the inner workings of the series of tubes. Stevens died last night in a plane crash near the town of Dillingham, at the age of 86. Stevens was the survivor of a previous 1978 plane crash, which killed his first wife. We offer our best wishes to his friends and family.


IA-Sen: Roxanne Conlin (D) 35%, Chuck Grassley (R-inc) 55%

IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 29%, Dan Coats (R) 50%

NH-Gov: John Lynch (D-inc) 50%, John Stephen (R) 39%

SSP Daily Digest: 4/9

NJ-Gov: The latest poll of the New Jersey governor’s race shows that things aren’t getting any worse for Jon Corzine, but he is settling into a deep rut. Fairleigh Dickinson finds that he loses 42-33 to Chris Christie, the same 9-pt margin as their previous poll one month ago (41-32). Corzine’s approval rating is 40/49, and he beats even nuttier GOPer Steve Lonegan by only 37-36. There is some good news, though: he’d still win in a Democratic primary, if for some reason senate president Richard Codey or Newark mayor Corey Booker challenged him.

Could An incumbent Democratic governor of New Jersey come back after trailing by double digits in the polls for most of the campaign? It happened once before, when Gov. Brendan Byrne beat Republican Raymond Bateman, despite being down as much as twelve points in September of 1977. “Hopeful” at Blue Jersey does some excellent digging through the archives to tell Byrne’s story. (D)

VA-Gov: National politics just injected itself into the Virginia governor’s race in a big way, as the GOP-held House of Delegates rejected $125 million in federal stimulus funds that would have extended unemployment benefits. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell supported his party’s callous move.

AK-Sen: Ted Stevens just filed his exploratory paperwork to get his old job back, by running for senator in 2014 (when he’ll be 91). Don’t actually expect to see Ted 2.0, though; his spokesman says it’s just a receptacle to receive donations that came in after the November election.

FL-Sen, NH-Sen: In other unlikely comeback news, though, this one appears to be for real: Bob Smith, the former senator from New Hampshire, has filed the paperwork to run for Senate again… in Florida, where he now lives. This seems odd, since there are political titans jostling for the Florida nomination while the New Hampshire nomination still seems to be pretty much free for the asking. (As an indication of how far down the totem pole the NH GOP is looking, Ovide Lamontagne, last seen losing the 1996 gubernatorial race, is now eyeing NH-Sen.)

AR-Sen: Mediocre polling and pressure on EFCA seem to have gotten Blanche Lincoln worried, but she may be able to breathe a little easier after her first quarter fundraising haul: $1.7 million, with $1 million of that coming at a campaign kickoff event headlined by Joe Biden.

MI-Gov: Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has announced that he won’t seek the GOP nomination for the governor’s race next year. Patterson narrowly led the primary field in a recent poll, so that leaves a wide-open field with a possible advantage to 2nd-place finisher Rep. Pete Hoekstra.

TN-Gov: State senator Roy Herron entered the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, joining former state house majority leader Kim McMillan and Nashville businessman Ward Cammack. Mike McWherter, son of former governor Ned McWherter, also seems a likely candidate.

PA-06: We have at least a warm body lined up in PA-06: Doug Pike, who hasn’t held elected office but wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer for a number of years, was an aide to Paul Tsongas, and is the son of Rep. Otis Pike (of New York). A better-known candidate may still crop up, especially if Rep. Jim Gerlach follows through on his likely plans to bail on his increasingly-Democratic seat (Obama won 58-41) and run for Pennsylvania governor instead.

AK-Gov, AK-Sen, Pres: Shenanigans.

Dang, that word is funny.

So, as we all know already, we’ve got Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell on one side of the Alaska Republican Party, and Representative Don Young and former Senator Ted Stevens on the other side, and they clearly dislike each other.

What with the AK Republicans (officially), headed by Palin, pumping out hot air calling for Begich to resign, it seems that (according to info from here and Politics1.com) that Young might even be taking Begich’s side in this dispute.  Not to mention that Begich (easily) called Palin’s bluff on the resignation request.

And of course, the best part of this is that Young now wants Stevens to primary Palin.  Battle of the century, eh?

Is this fun? [y/n]

More discussion/questions below the fold.

Also, has Palin “overmisestimated” her own political capital?  How much pull do Young and Stevens still have?  Does Lisa Murkowski’s now-pretty-good favorables actually show that voters are done with the whole “anti-Frank-Murkowski/Don-Young/Ted-Stevens” mood?

And what if Stevens actually were to primary Palin?  Who might win the primary, and how bloody would it be, and who do we have waiting in our wings?  What’s the likelihood that Stevens would actually do this?  (Somehow I think he won’t.)

And if he doesn’t, would the Stevens wing of the R party have anyone else to run?  I hear that the Alaska legislature doesn’t seem to like Palin that much these days…

And is Parnell up for more shenanigans next year?

And is shenanigans a funny word?

SSP Daily Digest: 4/3

NY-20: Jim Tedisco has moved into a 12-vote lead as the counties continue to engage in recanvassing of the lever-pull machines, which will continue next week. (Paper ballots are impounded at least until the scheduled court hearing on the 6th.)

In other news, Tedisco stepped down from his role as minority leader in the Assembly today. (That shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a sign of confidence in winning the election; he was facing a no-confidence vote from his caucus.)

SD-Sen: The 2010 South Dakota senate race isn’t looking very fruitful for Dems, even in the unlikely event we run a top-tier recruit. (If Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin goes for a promotion, at this point she seems more interested in governor.) R2K polls SD for Daily Kos and finds that John Thune runs ahead of both ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, 53-40, and Herseth Sandlin, 51-39. All three have pretty good favorables; South Dakotans just seem to prefer to keep Thune where he is.

CT-Sen: In the wake of yesterday’s terrible poll, a primary challenger to Chris Dodd has already popped out of the woodwork. Roger Pearson, the former First Selectman of Greenwich, has formed an exploratory committee. He seems little-known outside (or even inside) of Greenwich, but we’ll have to see if he can catch an anti-Dodd wave.

AL-Gov: Looks like the Democratic primary for Governor is about to get pretty crowded; state Sen. Roger Bedford is now openly mulling a run, and the inside chatter appears that the controversial but powerful northern Alabama legislator is pretty serious about a bid.

Meanwhile, ArturD2 is kvetching like a five year-old over the probable entry of Ag Comm’r Ron Sparks into the race. (J)

NH-Sen: Despite entreaties from the NRSC, Judd Gregg says he won’t seek re-election. Apparently, he wants to devote all his time to supporting the president’s agenda in the Senate. (D)

CO-Sen: Appointed senator Michael Bennet pulled in startling fundraising numbers for the 1st quarter, raising $1.37 million. Bennet is facing a paltry field of GOPers so far (with ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez their best bet), so this may actually serve more to cause former state house speaker Andrew Romanoff to think twice about a primary challenge.

AK-Sen: With charges dropped against Ted Stevens, Alaska GOP chair Rudy Reudrich wants a do-over on last year’s election. Gov. Sarah Palin also endorsed the idea, despite her taking an anti-Stevens stand in the closing weeks of the election. However, Rep. Don Young doesn’t support the idea, saying Mark Begich “will be in the Senate and will do a good job.” (In fact, Young has a totally different idea: Stevens should run for governor in 2010 against Palin.) Stevens’ friends in the Senate also seemed resigned to the election being over.

RI-Gov: Ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee seemed to back off a bit from previous statements that he will be running for governor as an independent, saying that he will decide by May whether or not to run, once his current position (teaching at Brown) ends.

Votes: Yesterday was the big vote in the House on the Obama budget. After a lot of public vacillation, even Joe Cao voted no, joining every other Republican. 20 Democrats voted no; it’s a who’s who of who’s vulnerable (with a few entrenched Blue Dogs joining them): Barrow, Boren, Bright, Childers, Donnelly, Foster, Griffith, Kosmas, Kratovil, Kucinich, Markey, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Minnick, Mitchell, Nye, Perriello, Taylor, and Teague. The only ‘nay’ votes in districts won by Obama were John Barrow (who’s actually been fairly cooperative so far this session), Bill Foster (usually a good guy, but a deficit hawk), and Dennis Kucinich (who assumedly voted against the budget from the left for not containing enough magic ponies). In the Senate, a few hours later, Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson were the only defections.

NASA: Here’s a guy we’re glad to see land on his feet: Nick Lampson, who used to represent NASA’s Houston-area facilities in TX-22, is now on the short list of potential NASA Administrators. Even Pete Olson, the guy who defeated Lampson, is advocating for Lampson.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/1

Site News: SSP is delighted to announce that we’ve just welcomed our six millionth visitor to the site. Thank you, everyone! (D)

NY-20: The NRCC is already using the paper-thin margin in NY-20 last night as the springboard for a whole new fundraising e-mail pitch: the Dems are trying to “pull a Franken” and “steal” the election in the courts, so please send lawyers, guns, and money. Eric Kleefeld has a thought on why this is good news! For Pete Sessions!

One problem Murphy might have is that Al Franken’s lawyers aren’t available right now. And in Tedisco’s favor, Norm Coleman’s attorneys are busy, too.

The Fix has obtained some Democratic projections of how things will shake out after all absentees are counted (they’re projecting Murphy by 210). This appears to be based on performance rates in the counties where the absentees came from (in other words, there seem to be disproportionately more absentees coming from pro-Murphy counties than Saratoga).

AK-Sen: It happened a few months too late to save Ted Stevens’ job, but the DOJ has finally dropped its frequently-bungled case against Stevens after further instances of prosecutorial misconduct arose.

CT-Sen: One more ‘oopsie’ for Chris Dodd: he blew through a lot of his campaign war chest on his ill-advised 2008 presidential run (he transferred $4.7 million from his 2010 senate kitty to his presidential campaign). He’s currently at only $670K cash on hand, compared with $1.6 million at this same point in his 2004 re-election.

FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek plays Gallant to Chris Dodd’s Goofus: he raised a whopping $1.5 million in the first quarter, as he tries to nail down frontrunner status for the Democratic nomination.

CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina, who was briefly sidelined by treatment for breast cancer, seems ready to get back into the political arena. She’s “seriously considering” entering the race against Barbara Boxer.

OK-Gov, OK-04: SSP’s all-time favorite punching bag, Tom Cole, looks to be staying where he is. He’s declined to run for Oklahoma governor, leaving fellow Rep. Mary Fallin in the driver’s seat for the GOP nomination.

TX-10: Democrat Jack McDonald, an Austin-area businessman running for the seat of GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, has announced that his campaign has raised over $300,000 in its first five weeks. Those are some pretty impressive numbers at this stage in the game. (J)

NRCC/NRSC: Remember the brouhaha over the big NRCC/NRSC fundraising dinner where no one could figure out whether or not Sarah Palin was going to keynote, where it turned out that the governor’s office and SarahPAC had no idea what each other were doing? Well, amateur hour is continuing apace in Anchorage, as now she’s off again. In her place, Newt Gingrich (who would have ever predicted the day when Newt Gingrich would be seen, by comparison, as the GOP’s sober, rational elder statesman?).

History: PolitickerNY takes an intersting trip down memory lane, looking at some of the greatest hits among previous close House elections, like CT-02 in 1994 and IN-08 in 1984.

AK-Sen: Begich Lead Up to 1,061

More vote counts have been released in the Alaska Senate race, and they show Mark Begich building slightly on his 814-point lead from yesterday.

Mark Begich (D): 137,527 (47%)

Ted Stevens (R): 136,466 (47%)

Bob Bird (AIP): 11,933 (4%)

Fredrick Haase (L): 2,215 (0%)

Ted Gianoutsos (NA): 1,218 (0%)

It’s unclear if there’s going to be a second wave of results for the day (according to the release schedule, this should be all for today), but if this is everything for today, then Begich is in really good shape. Today was the day for the counting from the Mat-Su Valley (home turf for Sarah Palin and the state’s most conservative core).

Today the state expects to count all absentee and questioned ballots left from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and northern and western Alaska. Elections officials will also count most, if not all, Fairbanks ballots today. Tuesday is the ballot count for Anchorage and Southeast, where the majority of outstanding votes lie.

If Begich emerged from Mat-Su counting day with more rather than fewer votes, with areas like more Begich-friendly areas still on the table, then he’s starting to look like he’s in the clear. The question is starting to be whether he can get above the 0.5% threshold to avoid a state-paid recount.

UPDATE: It looks like a few more votes trickled in; at 11 pm Eastern, the lead is now 1,022 votes.

AK-Sen, AK-AL: End of the Line

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/28-30, likely voters, 10/14-16):

Mark Begich (D): 58 (48)

Ted Stevens (R-inc): 36 (46)

(MoE: ±4%)

Ethan Berkowitz (D): 53 (50)

Don Young (R-inc): 44 (44)

(MoE: ±4%)

Ted Stevens and Don Young have a combined 75 years of congressional seniority, but it looks like Alaskans are poised to blow that up and start over. Most notably, Stevens’ conviction accounted for a 20-point swing since the previous poll two weeks ago. But some of the spirit of cleaning-house seems to have even transferred over to Berkowitz, whose numbers jumped a little as well.

McCain still has a big advantage at the presidential level, 58-39, but this poll also sees Sarah Palin’s favorables dropping back to somewhat earthbound levels (65-35) after two months of constant airing of her dirty laundry.

AK-SEN and AK-AL: The impact of the late closing time

A few days ago when the senate race was a 1-2 point race, this thread may have been more relevant but now it looks like both Dems will win.

But, Alaska’s polls close a full 2 hours after any other state in the country. So, a lot of Alaskans may go to the polls with one of the candidates, probably Obama, having already reached 270, and I was wondering if you guys thought this might effect turnout, and who this would benefit.

AK-Sen: Stevens Found Guilty On All Seven Counts; SSP Moves Race to Lean Dem

Ted Stevens was just found guilty of at least one all seven counts of making false statements. No link yet, but that’s the word that I’m hearing. (Update: CNN confirms it.)

What a huge bullet dodged for Mark Begich.

UPDATE: SSP is moving our rating of this race from Tossup to Lean Democratic.